Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"The Taratula Hawk" by Big Papi


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Suborder: Apocrita
Superfamily: Vespoidea
Family: Pompilidae
Subfamily: Pepsinae
Tribe: Pepsini


The Tarantula Hawk is the biggest wasp in the world and probably one of the most painful stings in the world. Its sting is only second to that of a bullet ant. The wasp can grow to up to two inches long and a female’s stinger can grow to up to a third of an inch. The reason why there called the Tarantula Hawk is because these wasps actually hunt tarantulas as food for its larvae. The Tarantula Hawks are worldwide in distribution and have at least 250 species in South America.


Form and Function:

The Tarantula Hawk seeks for female tarantulas in there borrows and prefers female tarantulas because they are much bigger. Surprisingly enough the female Wasps do all of the hunting and the male Wasps feed off flowers. The male Wasp has a behavior called Hill Hopping and what that is is that males wait atop big trees and wait for a female Wasp to stroll by to reproduce. The Hawk Wasp, after a delightful battle stings and paralyzes the spider. Then with its mega atomic strength drags the spider back to her own borrow. The wasp believe it or not lays a single egg on the spiders beat up body and the larvae enters the body after it hatches. It plunges into the spiders belly and feeds on it continuously being careful avoiding major organs. After several weeks the larva pupates and becomes a wasp. Once it becomes an adult, the wasp tears through the spider’s stomach to get out and continues its normal life cycle after that. Tarantula Wasps like to drink a lot of nectar and sometimes if they drink too much they actually become intoxicated and that makes it very difficult for them to fly. Somebody issue that Wasp a FUI for flying under the influence right.

This is a picture of a Tarantula Hawk Dragging a Tarantula away.

Impact on World/Humanity:

Believe it or not the Tarantula Wasp is actually the official state insect of New Mexico. It was chosen to be the state insect in 1989 by a group of elementary students who sent out a ballot to other schools to decide which insect would be named the state insect.

Look at the size of this thing!!!

Journal Article:

This journal basically describes to you all of the characteristics of the wasp and informs you of their prey that they hunt and their reproduction tendencies. It also describes to you how painful the wasps’ sting is if you ever get stung by one. The wasps’ sting is second in the whole world for insects for most painful sting.

This takes you to a bunch of videos!!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tarantula by Dylan Burchett


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Superfamily: Theraphosoidea
Family: Theraphosidae


The tarantula is a massive family of creatures, found in tropical and desert regions of North and South America, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Europe and Asia. Over 900 different species have been discovered. Tarantulas are generally divided between terrestrial types that are prone to burrowing, and arboreal types that build shelters high off the ground.


Depending on the species, the body length of tarantulas ranges from 2.5 to 10 cm, with 8–30 cm leg spans.

Form & Function:

Tarantulas feed by biting its prey, often insects, birds, mice, or lizards, with fangs on the ends of its chelicerae and injecting it with a venom that both paralyzes the prey and liquefies its insides. The tarantula then drinks up the liquefied interior of the prey with its mouth, which is located under its chelicerae on the lower front part of its prosoma. The leftovers of the prey are balled up by the tarantula and thrown away. Reproduction begins when the male spider weaves a web on a flat surface and rubs its abdomen on it to release semen. The male spider then absorbs the semen with its pedipalps, where it is kept until it meets a mate. When it does so, the two will perform various signals to confirm that both are receptive and of the same species. If the female is receptive, the male will insert his pedipalps into the female’s opisthosoma to transfer semen. Later, the female will deposit 50-2000 eggs into an egg sac until its young hatch. Tarantulas protect themselves against predators such as the Pompilidae wasp (“tarantula hawks”) with urticating hairs. Urticating hairs are barbed hairs that are designed to irritate predators and are found on the abdomen. The hairs are not grown back, but are replaced with each molt. The hairs can be extremely lethal to small animals, but are not as dangerous to people, though it ranges by person.

Impact on World/Humanity:

Tarantulas have a large impact on humanity because of their place on the food chain. Their presence is often key to the many ecosystems where they are found as both a predator and prey. Also, many people are frightened of spiders, ensuring the animals place in a plethora of taboos. Possibly the most well known taboo is that the bite of a tarantula was to cause a fatal condition called tarantism. The condition could only be cured with a wild form of dancing that we now know as the tarantella. And finally, the tarantula has become extremely popular in the exotic pet trade.

Journal Article Review:

This journal article details the discovery of a new species of tarantula, Coremiocnemis Tropix, in Northern Australia. It is particularly interesting because it gives an in depth look at a specific species of tarantula, and because it shows the steps one must take to confirm and document a new species of animal.

The Tongue Worm

Tongue Worms
By: Demi DeRose

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Maxillopoda
Subclass: Linguatulida
In Greek the scientific name Pentastomida means: pente = five; stoma = mouth. This name is derived from the fact that at the top of the cephalothorax the tongue worm has 5 legs. Four of the legs are hooklike, and the fifth is a jawless mouth that is used mainly used for sucking blood and internal tissues. Tongue worms are land living and usually take the host of reptiles, but also birds, and mammals.

· Length ranges from2-13 centimeters
· Anterior end of body has 5 legs: 4 clawed legs, 1bears the mouth (jawless)
· Body covered in a chitinous cuticle
· Simple digestive system (tubular); they feed entirely of blood so the mouth is like a muscular pump
· Nervous system: includes a ventral nerve cord with ganglia; the body contains a haemocoel but there is no circulatory, respiratory, or excretory system
· Hydrostatic skeleton

Form& Function:
The tongue worms usual host is in the lungs of basically any sort of reptile, where they absorb their blood tissue and fluids. As far as reproduction is concerned, fertilization is internal and the sexes of tongue worms are separate, and the female is able to produce millions of eggs. The eggs are then swallowed by the host, and are excreted as larvae with the hosts’ feces.
The tongue worms move by circular and longitudinal muscles. On the cephalothorax, the worms have 2 pair of hook like retractable claws. There are five known species of tongue worms that can infect humans with a disease called visceral pentastomiasis; when humans become infected it is usually accidental and is most noticeably found is patients that consumed undercooked snake meat.
Tongue worms are an extremely plentiful species which is neither endangered nor threatened. They have no known predators.

Impact on the World/Humanity:
The main impact that tongue worms have on our world is when they infect humans. When they are in the digestive tract of the human, tiny four legged larvae hatch and invade the visceral mass. But according to a study in 2009 no prescription medicine was needed to treat the disease because the parasites would eventually degenerate within two years.
Journal Article Review:
The tongue worms must complete their life cycle in more than one single host. Larval hosts are called intermediate hosts (accidently swallows the eggs as they eat) and the hosts of adults are considered definitive hosts (the larvae break out of the cyst of another animal eats the intermediate host).

Work Cited:
PENTASTOMIDA, Linguatulida, tongue worms. (n.d.). Home Page. Retrieved May 1, 2011, from
Haemocoel - definition from (n.d.). Life Science Reference - Biology Online. Retrieved May 1, 2011, from
Pentastomida - Encyclopedia of Life. (n.d.). Encyclopedia of Life. Retrieved May 1, 2011, from
Pentastomida - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved May 1, 2011, from
Tongue Worms: Pentastomida - Behavior And Reproduction - Host, Hosts, Eggs, Larvae, Definitive, and Intermediate . (n.d.). Animal Life Resource. Retrieved May 2, 2011, from

The Nautilus

The Nautilus is basically a living fossil, thought to be around since the triassic period, there is no doubt that this cephalopod is one hardy organism. The Nautilus is only found in the Indo-Pacific area, from the 30 N to 30 S latitude and the 90-185 W longitude. Here, they tend to thrive on the deep slopes of some coral reefs.
The anatomy of a Nautilus is quite different from the anatomy of most other cephalopods. Although it still has a prominent head like the rest of the class, the fact that it has a shell as an outer covering is where the differences begin.
Nautilus’ also typically have more tentacles than other cephalopods, up to 90. These tentacles have no pads or suckers, and just because of their frictional surface, they tend to grab hold of objects. The radula inside the mouth of the organism has 9 teeth and is very large compared to the size of the animal. The “shell” of the nautilus is actually not just a shell the organism found and fit into, but rather an externalized body structure that grows with the animal. The structure is very strong and can withstand pressure down to depths as deep as 2,600 ft. before imploding. As the nautilus grows and matures the shell gains new chambers, called camarae. The divisions are shown by the presence of a septa, with a hole in each for the siphuncle, which controls buoyancy of the organism allowing it to stay upright at all times, which is very evolutionary and convenient.

Nautilus’ eat small fish, shrimp, and other small crustaceans, but due the little amount of energy that it uses swimming because of the jet propultion system it possesses.
This propultion system, other than its hard shell and the ability to pull its head into the shell, is it’s only defense mechanism.
Nautilus’ reproduce by laying eggs. Females attach them to rocks in shallow water. They take 8-12 months to develop, and then hatch. Females spawn once a year and are able to regenerate their gonads.
The male has four modified tentacles called the spadix, which transfers the sperm into the females mantle.

Chambered nautilus (Nautilus pompilius pompilius) responds to underwater vibrations*
Christian P. Soucier1 and Jennifer A. Basil
Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior Program, City University of New York–Graduate Center, Department of Biology, CUNY Brooklyn College, 2900 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11210, U.S.A., and

1 Present Address: 333 East 102nd Street, Suite 726, New York, New York 10029, U.S.A.

The deep-water cephalopod Nautilus pompilius pompilius Linnaeus, 1758 may benefit from detecting potential signals such as mechanical and acoustical stimuli in its dark habitat where visual information is often limited. Here we examined whether specimens of chambered nautilus are capable of responding to waterborne vibration—a sensory mechanism that has yet to be investigated. We measured the ventilation rate of animals responding to a vibrating bead that produced a range of displacements and velocities. We found that nautiluses do indeed respond to underwater acoustical stimuli, decreasing their ventilation in the presence of a vibratory stimulus. Vibrations resulting from large-bead displacements and high source-velocities caused the animals to decrease their ventilation the most. Stimuli <20 cm from the animals caused a further reduction in their ventilation rates than those at greater distances. These nocturnal animals, living in dark conditions where visual information is often limited, may benefit from including vibrations in the suite of stimuli to which they can respond.

Received: October 1, 2006; Accepted: July 30, 2007; Revised: December 17, 2007

This article basically stated that Nautilus are able to respond to vibrations in the water column and by sensing these, their ventilation level goes down. these tests show that the nautilus may be able to detect prey by sensing acoustic vibrations in the water column.

The beautiful shells of these animals are the only thing that pose a threat to the species. they are not deadly and are not a source of food, so hopefully if the shelling is curbed, the nautilus with thrive for 500 million years more!

The King Crab


by Noni Heers


Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda

Subphylum: Crustacea

Class: Malacostraca

Order: Decapoda

Infraorder: Anomura

Superfamily: Lithodoidea

Family: Lithodidae

I. Introduction

King Crabs are a superfamily of crustaceans mainly found in cold waters. Because of their large size and the taste of their meat, many species are widely caught and sold as food, the most common is the red king crab.

II. Anatomy


The anatomy of King crab consists of shoulders, merus, legs, claws, joints, tips, spines and a carapace. King crabs molt their shell in order to get bigger. Juvenile king crabs molt frequently the first years of life and molt less when they reach 4-5 years of age. Alaskan king crab are known by their exterior color. Red king crab has a dark reddish brown shell, blue king crab has a blue tone shell and golden king crab has a dark brown shell. Blue king crab legs are slender and more oval shaped compared to red king crab legs. King crab is measured by the number of king crab legs it takes to reach 10 pounds of crab meat.

III. Form and Function

The cuticle that covers the body and limbs of the king crab is divided into segments interconnected by strong, flexible membranes, allowing movement at the joints. The cuticle is highly mineralized or impregnated with calcium salts. Such an exoskeleton provides considerable mechanical leverage and protection to the crab.

Their central nervous system consists of a central nervous system, a ventral nerve cord and ganglia within each body segment. They also have eyes, antennules, and antennae, and mouth parts in the head region.

Feeding and Digestion

The mouth opens on the bottom of the Crab. All of these appendages are thought to be primarily manipulative and food-handling, even though one of them seems also to function to pump water across the gills. There are large mashing jaws located on either side of the mouth and they smash food pretty well, but most of the chewing is done in the stomach. Because of crabs hard exoskeleton, the mouth can't open very wide, Instead, they are "tearing" predators or scavengers which use their large claws to tear off pieces of the food item. These pieces are passed to the maxillipeds covering the mouth and they rip it into progressively smaller pieces. Eventually, the food item is shoved between the jaws and into the small mouth. Food at this stage is a pulpy mass.


When a male and female crab mate, many female decapod crabs can store the male sperm until her eggs are ready to be released. When the eggs are released, the stored sperm flows over them and they become fertilized. The female crab holds the fertilized eggs in a big spongy mass between its abdominal flap and the body. The eggs are cemented to the pleopods, which are small legs, creating the "berried" appearance. To keep the eggs healthy, the female crab continually "waves" water over the eggs with the pleopods. When the eggs hatch into zoea larvae, they drift away in the ocean currents as plankton.

IV. Impact on the World and Humanity

The biggest impact that KIng Crabs have, are their delicious legs. A lot of people like eating some tasty crab legs especially HUGE ones :)


V. Journal Article and Review

In the article that I read it talked about how thousands of King Crabs were coming up the Antarctic slope. James McClintock said "They are coming from the deep, somewhere between 6,000 to 9,000 feet down," If the species continue to show up on shore we could lose the disease fighting compounds.

Works Cited

Kiwa hirsuta, A.K.A. Yeti Crab!

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Family: Kiwaidae
Genus: Kiwa
Species: K. hirsuta


The Yeti Crab, Kiwa Hirsuta, was recently discovered in 2005 in the South Pacific Ocean, 900 miles south of Easter Island off the coast of Chile. The genus Kiwa was named after the Kiwa, the goddess of the shellfish in the Polynesian mythology. Their species name, Hirsuta means “hairy” in Latin. They are known for their abundance of silky blonde setae covering their pereiopods, which are their thoracic legs and claws. Thus, the name Yeti Crab.
The first Yeti Crab was discovered by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California. They used a submarine and found it on the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge, at a depth of 2,200 meters on a hydrothermal vent.


Form and Function:
Yeti Crabs are approximately 15 centimeters long. They have eyes that lack pigment and are thought to be blind, or nearly blind. The setae on their appendages contain filamentous bacteria which they use to detoxify poisonous minerals emitted by the hydrothermal vents. They are thought to be mainly carnivorous, although this has yet to be scientifically proved.

Journal Article Review:
Yeti Crab was recently discovered in the South Pacific ocean by researcher Michel Segonzac. Found roughly 1500 kilometers (900 miles) south of Easter Island off the coast of Chile. IT was discovered by using submersible vehicals about a mile and a half below the surface of the water, near the hydrothermal vents. The Yeti Crab is so unique that they had to create a new family of animal in order to classify it. Even after a year of studying it, there is still much to learn about this unusual organism.


Pastino, Blake. (2006, March 09). Yeti crab discovered in deep pacific. Retrieved from

Kiwa hirsuta. (2011, March). Retrieved from

The Chocolate Chip Sea Star!

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Echinodermata
  • Class: Asteroidea
  • Order: Valvatida
  • Family: Oreasteridae
  • Genus:Protoreaster
  • Species: Protoreaster Nodosus

They posses spins "chips" that are arranged in a single row, radially on the dorsal side. These "chips" start off pointy, horn like, and erode over time becoming dull and blunt. They are meant to scare off any predators by looking dangerous.The Sea stars are usually colored in shades of red or brown, but can be light tan, the color of cookie dough. This appearance,
combined with the small chips, give the sea star a look similar to that of a bumpy cookie.

The chocolate chip sea star can be found in the waters of the Indo-Pacific region. Horned
sea stars prefer sheltered, sandy or slightly muddy bottoms more than hard substrates such as a coral reef, and are frequently sighted between the leaves of seagrass or on a blank stretch of coral sand. They are found most often in low tide and do not withstand rapid changes well and keep themselves underwater.

Appetite -
Horned sea stars seem to be opportunistic carnivores;
They are known to consume most sessile life forms including hard corals and sponges. They will also hunt down snails and eat them. Someone has also seen one chowing down on a sea urchin in their habitat.

Although starfish are fairly well armored and generally ignored by fish, several types of fish will view them as food, including triggerfish, pufferfish, boxfish, and parrotfish.

They are dioecious, but you are unable to tell the difference between the two without dissection. Spawning takes place between march and may. The larvae are planktotrophic and stay within the plankton for around 10 to 15 days.

Human Relations-
In many tropical Asian and Pacific countries these sea stars are collected for sea shell trade. In
some areas over harvesting is an issue and reduces the population greatly due to the continuos harvesting by the industry.

Cute fact!~
As with other tropical Echinoderms, animals like shrimp, tiny brittle stars and even file fish can be found on the surfaces of a chocolate chip
sea star:)


Bumble bee, Bombus
I. Introduction:

The scientific classification:
Kingdom- Animalia
Class- Insecta

There are over 250 known species of Bumblebees! They are primarily found in the Northern Hemisphere and live in colonies with 50 to 400 members. They are called Bumblebees because of their lazy buzz sound and bumbling flight. They are hairy little guys, normally with yellow and black stripes but occasionally they can be all black or orange.

II. Anatomy

Similar to all insects, the Bumblebee has an exoskeleton composed of chitin. It has a head with eyes, mouthparts, and antennae. The thorax contains the wings, wing muscles, and legs. The abdomen holds the digestive and reproductive organs as well as the sting. Bumblebees have four chitonous wings, two rear wings connected to the front wings by hooks called hamuli. They have the ability to ‘warm-up’ their flight muscles when it is cold out. They do this by shivering, similar to what humans do. They have three pairs of legs which are specialized for gathering pollen. Bumblebees have two compound eyes and three primitive eyes called ocelli. They are able to breathe through spiracles which are attached to the trachea.

Figure 1 Figure 2

Figure 3

III. Form & Function:

The Bumblebee has a long tongue with hairs at the end which help to absorb nectar. The tongue is only extended while feeding and is folded under the head and body during flight. The tongue and mouthparts also help with taste and smell. The hairs on the mouthpart and tongue have pores on them which allow molecules to pass through and travel to receptor sites on sensory cells.

Bumblebees use Malpighian tubules to produce their waste. They cannot lose water and these organs help with water conservation. Waste materials, like potassium, are collected by tubules which drain fluid “urine” into the intestine. The rectum reabsorbs the water, which results in a dry mixture of urine and feces. Besides uric acid, empty pollen grains are also passed just before spinning the cocoon.

In almost all species of Bumblebees, the male’s only job is to mate with the female. Female bees usually mate with several males in midair, gathering all the sperm she will ever need in her life time. Males usually die after mating because they leave their endophallus in the female’s body. After mating, the female returns to her nest to lay her eggs. Ovaries are activated when the queen lays her eggs. The eggs pass along the oviduct to the vagina. In the vagina there is a container called the spermatheca, this is where the female stores the sperm from her mating. She will decide if she wants to use the sperm to fertilize the eggs. Non-fertilized eggs will grow into males and only fertilized eggs will become females. The hormones that stimulate the development of ovaries are suppressed in other female worker bees while the queens remain dominant.

Queen and worker bumblebees can sting! Unlike honey bee’s, a bumblebees stinger lacks barbs, which means they can sting more than once. They are not normally aggressive, but they will sting to defend their nest or if they are harmed. One female species, the Cuckoo bumblebee, will aggressively attack the Queen but avoid all other animals and humans.

IV. Impact on the World & Humanity:

Bumble bees are EXTREMELY helpful to humans! They are becoming increasingly popular in cultured agriculture because they can pollinate species of plants by using buzz pollination. This is a method that other pollinators cannot achieve.

V. Journal Article and Review:

This article is about commercially bred bees used to pollinate greenhouse crops possibly spreading diseases to the wild bee population. This comes as a great concern to scientists and the food industry because of the impact of pollination. Scientists captured a random sample of bumblebees from around a greenhouse and did a series of tests for pathogens. They found an intestinal parasite that matched the high infection rates predicted by a predicted mathematical model. 50% of wild bumblebees near the greenhouse were infected with the parasite Crithidia bombi.


The bumblebee. (1997). Retrieved from

(Used for information and Figures 1-3)

Bumble bee. (2011). Wikipedia. Retrieved May 1, 2011, from

Wilson, T. (n.d.). How bees work. Retrieved from

Solifugae Camel Spiiders

SOLIFUGAE: Camel Spiders

By: Alek Kanellopoulos

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerae
Class: Arachnida
Order: Solifugae


Never has something so scary been seen before... A wind spider, a sun spider or a wind scorpion, there are so many names for one creature widely known among the public as a camel spider. The camel spider is renowned with urban legend and story. Dubbed Solifugae which in Latin means, "One who flees from the sun," they are not actual spiders, but instead are associated with scorpions and harvestmen under Arachnida. They live in many place all over the world, mainly arid and warm. You will most likely find them in the deserts around the world, ranging form Arizona to the Middle East.


*Pardon the crude photo, but besides its drawn format, all labeling is correct.*

Form and Function:

Camel Spiders are greatly specialized for survival in desert and arid habitats. They are mostly nocturnal to avoid the heat, but some species are diurnal. Shade is very important to the survival of desert camel spiders that are active during the day. Their bodies are not made for the direct heat of the sun. The reports of camel spiders charging and pursuing soldiers are likely derived from the animals attempting to take refuge from the sun in their shadows

Like most chelicerates, in particular Aranea and Arachinda, their tagmata consist of cephalothorax and abdomen. They have uniquely large pedipalps that they use generally for sensing their environment and prey capture. They are also very sticky for help with climbing surfaces. They only have two eyes. Many notice, that their chelicera are absolutely HUGE. This makes people think that they have large amounts of venom, but in reality it is because of their LACK of venom. They compensate with large mouthparts for defensive reasons.

Their chelicera have two parts that form together for powerful pincers. They use these pincers to grasp and tear apart their prey: Which includes other arthropods, lizards, snakes, and possibly small mammals. Solifugids typically do not feed on animals larger than themselves, they are very precise with their hunting. Generally they are not prey to many (Except for when Bear Grylls ate one on Man v.s Wild), and are most likely eaten by larger arthropods and quite possibly birds... But I wouldn't mess with one.

In terms of Life cycle, Solifugae undergo around 9 molts to reach full adulthood. Reproduction can involve direct or indirect sperm transfer; when indirect, the male emits a spermatophore on the ground and then inserts it with his chelicerae (Not with the pedipalps with camel spiders) in the female's genital pore. The female then digs a burrow, into which she lays 50 to 200 eggs. She guards the eggs till they hatch. Because the female will not feed during this time, she will try to fatten herself beforehand.

Impact On World/Humanity:

Although, they do not provide any substantial service to humans or other animals, they do contribute to largely to the myth culture and urban legends of today...

Urban Legends and Myths (All False):

  • They are extremely aggressive, viscously charging directly towards, and pursuing soldiers.
  • Running up to 25 mph whilst making a screaming sound.
  • They can grow to be as large as dinner plates.
  • They are able to jump several feet in the air.
  • They are venomous and can anesthetize their prey while they chow down unnoticed.
  • They eat, live in, or lay their eggs in the bellies of camels.
Journal Article:

I came across an interesting article in the Journal of Zoology, that discussed coercive behavior among male and female camel spiders when mating. The scientists studied the behavior of two sexually cannibalistic camel spider species to determine coercive traits. The findings were as followed: 1. Males used strength or fast movement to grab a female; 2. Males prevented female counter-attack and escape; 3. Males injured the female during coercive copulations; 4. Females struggled to interrupt mating. The interesting thing is that prior to the coercive mating, the male used courtship behaviors in a way to soothe the female such as tapping or stroking with pedipalps.

List of References:

Bok, M. (2010, June 10). Arthropods in pop culture. Retrieved from

Hruskova, M. (2010). Coercive copulation in camel spiders. 282(2), Retrieved from

Solifugae. (2010, April 25). Retrieved from

Hermit Crabs(:

by Sienna Purse
Latreille, 1802

Most species have long, spirally curved abdomens which are soft, unlike the hard, calcified abdomens seen in related crustaceans. The vulnerable abdomen is protected from predators by a salvaged empty seashell carried by the hermit crab, into which its whole body can retract. Most frequently hermit crabs use the shells of sea snails (although the shells of bivalves and scaphopods and even hollow pieces of wood and stone are used by some species). The tip of the hermit crab's abdomen is adapted to clasp strongly onto the columella of the snail shell. As the hermit crab grows in size, it has to find a larger shell and abandon the previous one. This habit of living in a second hand shell gives rise to the popular name "hermit crab", by analogy to a hermit who lives alone. A few species do not use a "mobile home" and inhabit immobile structures left bypolychaete worms, vermetid gastropods, corals and sponges.

Form and Function:

Hermit crab species range in size, shape, from species with a carapace only a few millimetres long to Coenobita brevimanus which can approach the size of a coconut. The shell-less hermit crab Birgus Latro (coconut crab) is the world's largest terrestrial invertebrate.

The young develop in stages, with the first two (the nauplius and protozoea) occurring inside the egg. Most hermit crab larvae hatch at the third stage, the zoea. This is a larval stage wherein the crab has several long spines, a long narrow abdomen, and large fringed antennae. After several zoeal moults, this is followed by the final larval stage, the megalops stage.

Impact on Humanity:

Several marine species of hermit crabs are common in the marine aquarium trade. Of the approximately 15 terrestrial species in the world, the following are commonly kept as pets. These omnivorous or herbivorous species can be useful in the household aquarium as scavengers, because they eat algae and debris.
Journal Article Review:
"The unwanted guests of hermits: A global review of the diversity and natural history of hermit crab parasites"

This article is about the many parasites that a hermit crap can harbor in it's shell. There are about 130-140 species out of the 850 species of hermit crabs that are parasitized. This article goes on to talk about ways of parasitization and how we underestimate hermit crabs importance.

Works Cited:

McDermott, JJ, Williams, JD, & Boyko, CB. (2010). The unwanted guests of hermits: a global review of the diversity and natural history of hermit crab parasites.Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology,394. Retrieved from

Hermit crab anatomy. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Hermit crab lovers. (n.d.). Retrieved from